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Nomadic Hands

COLOMBIAN CULTURE

COLOMBIA | Wednesday, 19 November 2008 | Views [4995] | Comments [1]

A present I painted for Tania and her family.

A present I painted for Tania and her family.

The past few weeks here in Colombia have been such a huge cultural experience because I have really felt like one of the locals. Families here have taken me into their houses and  treated me like one of their own. I have been given plenty of hugs, gifts and typical foods and have been introduced to many extended family members. It really saddens me that I have been told from so many of my Colombian friends who want to travel, that it is really difficult for them to get visas to do so. I really feel that it´s not only the Colombians who are missing out, but also the rest of the world, which doesn´t get to experience enough of the amazing Colombian culture. People are so friendly here, so warm, and I´m happy to say it´s part of their culture to party! I´m certain that families all around the world could benefit alot from learning about a close Colombian familie´s way of life.     
 
Tania´s mother got me in touch with her brother, who invited me to the Juan Cristobal Martinez High School to watch class presentations on conservation of the environment, which he was a judge at. The groups of 16 year olds spoke about different environmental issues such as recycling, the use of petrolium, and water contamination. I only wish I was able to understand Spanish really well, as the presentations weren´t the most colourful. I thought it was a great idea for the kids to be learning about the environment, but I feel they would have benefited from the excersise immensly if it had been alot more creative... I nearly fell nodded off a few times, and I saw one of the girls up the back in deep sleep by the end of it. 
 
When I left Tania´s house, her mum kept looking at me with disapointment because I was leaving. She had given me enough hugs to last a year, which I was of course more than happy to receive. I had met grandmas, cousins, uncles, aunties, nieces and nephews and girlfriends and boyfriends of family members. Nearly every day I would meet another one of the family who would always say hello to me like they had known me for years! I loved staying there, but I decided to stay with one more family before leaving Bucaramanga. I ended up staying with a guy the same age as me named Jose, his brother Sergio and his mum Yolanda. I was introduced to Jose´s uncle (who is younger than he), and his grandmother who has ten children!! I had alot of laughs with them, especially when we went out for lunch one day and ate chicken with plastic gloves (as most Colombians do). 
 
The night before I left Bucaramanga, Tania came over to Jose´s house with her boyfriend Alex, and met Jose and his family. I´m glad they got to meet as they got along well and I´m sure they will meet up again. I was sad to leave Bucaramanga and the family I had just started to get to know really well. Even when I got on the bus to leave, there they were, waving goodbye into the bus´ windows, (which were tinted so you couldn´t actually see in), until I was far away down the street.
 
I was heading to San Cristobal Venezuela, but when I got to Cucuta, I was very tired and so decided to stay in Tania´s boyfriend´s cousin´s (Vivian´s) house. When I arrived, I was welcomed as I usually am here in Colombia, with broad, warm smiles She lives with another older woman and three funny guys. All of them are so happy and have made me feel so comfortable. Once again I was shouted dinner... I think that Colombians really like to give... especially food!! It makes me so happy because, (as my family and friend know all too well), I am a huge lover of food! 
 
Monica is an extremely nice and generous person, and even bought me clothes because mine were faded and falling to bits!! She works as a journalist, and radio and t.v presenter, and she even interviewed me about the nomadic hands project... which can be heard at www.musikviva.com . My first interview in Spanish... yay!
 
I´m sure that the comfort I have been offered and given in Colombia is not only limited to myself, but to anyone else who meets new friends and families here. I´ll be honest and say I was a little bit nervous about coming here after my family and friends in Australia and in other parts of the world kept telling me not to come here because it´s too dangerous, but I´m so glad I did because I would have missed out on so much. The culture is one of the most happiest I have ever become immersed in, and I will truly miss it when I finally make it to Venezuela.     

Comments

1

Hey, can I just say that i'm obsessed with reading your blogs/journals! I have one question I really hope you can answer for me, I would deeply appreciate it.. but... how did you find all these organisations, families, volunteering, projects, etc etc to work with? I've found one or two email addresses within your blogs but I still have no idea of how to find more, I would love o do something like what you have done. Please, I hope to hear from you soon. My email is [email protected] Thanks so much.
Te cuidates. Chao. Luisse

  Luisse Jun 1, 2009 8:06 AM

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